When we first started to develop our own apps, we took a step back to see what we thought would be both scalable and attractive to customers. Part of what we saw was the beginning of a trend towards web-based apps instead of traditional client-server apps. Clearly, the ability to deliver solutions as web apps would need to be an important part of our solution offering.
As part of that planning, we began using a loosely coupled integration method, where we isolated the interfaces between our software and the ERP system, so that we would have a way to rapidly upgrade our apps when the ERP was upgraded. In practice today, moving from one version of Tensoft SemiOps from the next typically takes only a day to validate that its still working, using the integration tools available to us from the ERP system that we’re integrating to. Our applications didn’t become so tightly coupled with one ERP that it required a lot of work on our side to migrate to the next version. We also benefited from this loosely coupled integration model later when we moved our apps to a cloud environment, because we have an interface that’s a web service exchange between ERP data and Tensoft app data. This is a bi-directional data model that allows us to de-couple our software in a true cloud-based environment so that, for example, we can host our software for a customer and they can have their ERP system on-site on their servers, or we can host both our software and the ERP, or they can have both on-site. Whether it’s a private cloud or a public cloud, the design should still apply.
The challenge with a cloud-deployment model for traditional client/server software is that the underlying infrastructure needs are greater since you need to provide more of a remote desktop or terminal server-type platform in order to deploy the software. It increases the complexity and resources required to deploy that type of solution. The underlying infrastructure needed to deploy a client/server app in the cloud is greater than for an application that’s been developed for the cloud that can run in a web application and has more universal access for remote users.
In terms of licensing, our model provides some advantages as well. Tensoft is able to provide vertical application-specific functionality directly to users who may not need access to the ERP system itself. Therefore, they don’t have to buy GP seats to access Tensoft apps. For example, with Tensoft RCM (now called as Tensoft Revenue Lens), if a user wants to look at the revenue sub-ledger, they can just use Tensoft RCM independently of the ERP system. It can be a more cost-effective licensing model for many companies.
For more information about Tensoft’s products and services, please contact us. If you’d like to comment on this article, I encourage you to Tweet, post to Facebook or blog about it!